Getting it Together: Email Marketing, Social Media, and Data Analysis

Russell Grant
The other day I was talking to a dealer who said, “We’ve tried some email marketing. One of my salespeople is doing our Facebook page and another one is Tweeting. I think together that’s about all the email marketing and social media I want to do for right now.” That would be fine. If the email marketing and social media were working together, and if the marketing efforts were data driven. Unfortunately, for that dealer, they weren’t. And the same is true for many dealers I meet with More or Less: Email Marketing and Social Media Business leaders throughout the nation understand the importance of having a strong e-presence – and a recent poll of more than 900 executives found that: ■60 percent are increasing their email marketing budget ■55 percent are increasing their social media budget Now is not the time to cut spending on email marketing and social media. If you’ve trimmed your budget in these areas, you might want to rethink your strategy. Remember, nearly half (48 percent) of consumers combine social media and search engines in the buying process and a staggering 85 percent start shopping for a vehicle online. Add to that, 90 percent of consumers say they trust recommendations from people they know and 70 percent say they trust consumer opinions posted online. Suddenly both positive and negative comments about your dealership on Facebook, Yelp.com, Edmunds.com, DealerRater.com and Google Places take on a whole new significance. Integration: Socially – and Financially – Rewarding In this same study referred to above, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of the business leaders said they plan to integrate social media with their email marketing and 47 percent plan to use email marketing to drive growth in social media – especially corporate Facebook and Twitter pages. It’s clear why this is such a vital – and profitable – goal. In a survey of email and online marketers, 54 percent said results were “somewhat” to “significantly better” after integrating social media and email marketing. These marketing professionals rated social media as the online marketing channel with the greatest positive effect when combined with email. Put Your Money Where Your ROI Is There’s more good news when it comes to email marketing. In a recent survey of more than 200 marketing executives, 82 percent said they expect campaigns to be measured. But these same professionals admitted it is difficult to effectively evaluate ROI. They agreed, however, that overall the most success was had in measuring email campaigns -- 47 percent. You may also want to consider adding direct marketing to your media mix, because that followed at a close 41 percent. Data Analytics: A Key to Success In the poll referred to earlier, business leaders stated that their top email marketing initiatives for 2012 are: ■Improving subscriber engagement (48 percent) ■Improving segmentation and targeting (44 percent) ■Growing opt-in email lists (32 percent) Data integration is critical to achieving each of these priorities, but it was also identified as the primary email marketing challenge by 45 percent of the respondents. Lack of resources followed at 43 percent. When dealers tell me they don’t have the expertise or the resources to devote to developing data-driven analytics and strategies, I suggest that they may want to consider partnering with a vendor who does. Because if the dealer’s email marketing and social media aren’t integrated and targeting customers consistently and concisely, you can bet their competition’s communications are.
Larry Schlagheck
Those are astounding and very interesting numbers, Russ. Thanks for sharing. In your opinion, if a dealer is behind with regard to social media and wants to catch up, where should he/she start?
Russell Grant
Larry, that is a very good question. My start was 3 years ago at the first Driving Sales Executive Summit. I will never forget how overwhelmed I felt with all the information I was receiving. I was drinking water out of a fire hydrant. I will give some thoughts and I would be very interested in what others think. I was speaking at a Mercedes 20 Group on Monday and the same exact question was asked. I would start with Education. Mistakes happen because dealerships develop plans and strategies but there is no foundation. The foundation starts and ends with Education. This will make everything you do much easier. Your goals for social media will align with your visions for your dealership. It will be much easier to hire the correct people and give them the action plans to succeed. Education will also give you the understanding on how to leverage your Social Media with your current Marketing Strategies. Lastly, I would say to be patient with your strategies and it is not to late to get started. We are still in the first couple of innings of the game. Ask for help if needed. That is how we all got started.
Declan Carberry
In these times where information technology has become a necessity rather than just a convenient tool in everyday life, the internet has proven to become among the most effective ways to reach the public. As such, email is now seen to be a very powerful tool in marketing since it is among the most often utilized components in cyberspace. For more info see the blog http://declan113.sitemoxie.com/
Russell Grant
Declan, thanks for the info.

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